The Big Picture/with Mark Anderson, American Free Press deputy editor,www.AmericanFreePress.net; and host of RBN’s When Worlds Collide, broadcast Saturdays from 7 to 9 p.m. Central; Call in, 800-313-9443.
Outraged Texans are coming out swinging in early 2010, continuing the brutal fight against the outright privatization of public highways — trying to avoid getting steamrolled by Wall Street “highwaymen” and their political allies who would deprive Texans and all Americans of the ownership and cost-effective use of highways already paid for with gasoline taxes.
Watching a state like Texas tells a great deal about what could happen anywhere. So, AMERICAN FREE PRESS has been monitoring the Texas situation for more than three years, as the drama plays out on whether the Trans-Texas Corridor – a pivotal piece of the proposed NAFTA Superhighway system for engineering the physical aspects of the North American Union scheme – will be built to any irreversible extent; and whether existing freeways will be converted to toll ways in a privatization scheme to cancel any competition that freeways would pose to aggressive plans to toll any highway with enough traffic for manipulators to make money.
These financial sharks tempt the cash-strapped states with quick money by acquiring freeways from them and transforming them into for-profit toll ways. Or sometimes state-controlled toll ways are privatized under long lease agreements, as happened with the Indiana Toll Road. Tolls of 75 cents a mile are a distinct possibility in places such as Dallas-Fort Worth, an area whose destiny appears to be the U.S. “toll” capital.
The usual suspects will leave no road un-tolled here — and abroad — if we let them get their way. Yes, Goldman-Sachs is creating a “highway market” to control. Meanwhile, the Rothschilds are reportedly among the major financial forces privatizing the roads in Britain.
The domestic scene’s latest developments included a Jan. 11 final public hearing in Texas on a plan to charge tolls on the northbound lanes in San Antonio’s large 281/1604 Interchange. San Antonio Toll Party (SATP) members turned out to protest the plan.
Their main concerns were noted in a news bulletin:
“They’re charging us the price of a whole interchange ($143 million), but we’re only getting half ….Each set of ramps costs roughly $59 million, yet the [Regional Mobility Authority] is putting this project out to bid with $84 million in ‘project enhancements’ in order to use-up all our stimulus money on anything but fixing 281 North or building the whole interchange toll-free.”
From there, the SATP meets Jan. 21 at the Big ’Z Burger Joint in San Antonio at 2303 North 1604 W — mainly to prepare for a major hearing of the Senate Transportation Committee on Feb. 1 in the capital of Austin. AFP plans to attend.
SATP’s news bulletin on the hearing notes: “Our attention turns to accountability at the ballot box, producing our Voter Guide, preparing for a big grassroots turnout at [the] hearing in Austin on Feb 1 …. Come be a part of preserving our freedom to travel.”
Those in AFP’s growing Texas readership take note: This Austin meeting, to take place at 8 a.m. at the Capitol Extension Auditorium, will focus on statewide road funding alternatives.
“If you want to end tolling as the primary means to fund new roads and for the most affordable method of funding roads to prevail [the common use of gas taxes for maintenance, repairs and needed expansions] you must come to Austin … to be heard,” the SATP also announced. “That means telling lawmakers ‘no’ to selling our roads to private, foreign corporations [Spanish firms under Comprehensive Development Agreements]; ‘no’ to raiding teacher retirement funds and public employee retirement funds to finance them; ‘no’ to any tax increases until they clean house at TxDOT; and stop raiding the gas tax for things that don’t relate to roads; and ‘yes’ to the most affordable way to fund roads (the statewide gas tax that hasn’t been raised since 1991).”
To give an idea of what these toll schemes mean to the average motorist no matter where they’re enacted, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Dec. 27 noted: “Tolls could go as high as 75 cents per mile when congestion is at its worst. That could be more than five times higher than the average 14.5 cents per mile that motorists currently pay on Dallas-area toll roads.”
Building a toll road that you are forced to use has the same effect as paying a higher tax on gasoline. Whether a highway is free, or you are tolled, you still pay 38.4 cents in federal and state gasoline taxes. That is the baseline. Assuming that your vehicle averages 20 miles per gallon, if you drive 20 miles on a toll road charging the maximum 75 cents per mile, you pay your 38.4 cents in current gas taxes plus another $15 in tolls. Thus, the combined tolls and taxes to drive on that road total $15.38 per gallon of gasoline. And to think Americans griped when gas was $4 a gallon.
Yet, the ultimate problem is that more toll ways in any state will create a vast “highway market” [read: racket] by privatizing all major public roads so the NAFTA Superhighway, in Texas and beyond, can be waiting in the wings as a major blow against territorial sovereignty. It also is a surefire way to further impoverish the masses who already had what should be a publicly-controlled asset – the creation of money itself – taken away from them starting in 1913 when the Federal Reserve was born.
Now, roads – which, like money, are used by nearly everybody on a daily basis – may be the final frontier for the elite monopolists whose tentacles pull at the grassroots and span the globe.
Note: In Austin, visit Brave New Books to buy a sample copy of American Free Press. If you visit the Rio Grande Valley, go to the MAC Newsstand in McAllen, Texas to purchase AFP. To reach the writer, email email@example.com